City of Houghton receives facade grants

HOUGHTON – While state grants are getting harder to come by, the City of Houghton is still having success.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation Community Development Block Grant program awarded the city $640,811 in funds. Four buildings will undergo work: The Blue Iris, State Wide Realty, The Douglass Agency and Joe Daavettila, CPA.

The businesses are contributing $216,104 in matching funds.

The project is one of two CDBG grants announced statewide as part of a recent round of funding. The MEDC announced a total of seven projects in various programs Wednesday, five of which were loans. Houghton’s is the only one in the Upper Peninsula.

“We’re following our (HyettPalma) blueprint plan,” said City Manager Scott MacInnes. “We’ve had such success with these facades, and fixing up our town. Some of these are key buildings that were in our original plan to get facade grants for. We’ll have almost all the buildings in our downtown that are key historic buildings that will have some sort of work done on them in the last 10 years.”

In other action, the council:

heard a report from Department of Public Works Director Mark Zenner. Michigan Department of Transportation projects are being finished. The city repainted and did other rehab work on the bandshell at the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park. Bridge Street was milled last week; asphalt work should be finished Friday or Saturday. Winter sand and salt is being hauled in. Some streets were paved last week as part of the water and sewer project including parts of Sixth Street, Seventh Street and Edwards Avenue. Repairs to sidewalks and driveways are beginning. Water and sewer hook-ups are finishing on the west end. Pipe has been installed on Agate Street. Service is done on Houghton Avenue; work continues on Ruby Street.

heard a report from Police Chief John Donnelly. Since the previous meeting, there have been 132 calls for service, 10 misdemeanor arrests, 14 civil infractions and four city tickets.

Officer Jeremy Hill is attending interviewing school. The department will be picking up its patrol SUV this week.

approved a request from the Aspirus Keweenaw Medical Clinic to take over the portion of a city sign on M-26 now being used by the Carnegie Museum, which would take over a smaller portion of the sign. In exchange, Aspirus will donate $2,000 to the museum.

Approved the removal of a section of sidewalk on Isle Royale Street across from the Wells Fargo parking deck. The change is intended to create room for five to six parking spots.

Approved 20 changes to the city’s charter, as recommended by the city’s charter commission. Two others were sent back to the commission, as they did not specify a level of compensation.

approved $843,738.84 in drawdown of Rural Development funds for water and sewer improvements.

approved $58,172 in third-party contracts with B-H-K Community Action Agency and Goodwill Industries, as required by the Michigan Department of Transportation.